Friday, March 04, 2005

...Singing the Praises of Me

I’m all for people feeling good about themselves. But I’m also aware that there is a distinct difference between high self-esteem and a grossly inflated sense of self-worth.

I subscribe to an industry magazine aimed at small business owners like myself. I don’t read the thing from cover to cover every month, but religiously turn to the back page where my favorite column is located. It is written by a long time industry veteran who provides both technical and managerial advice based on his years of experience in our field. Most people would probably find his column somewhat of a bore since it is rather esoteric, tending to deal specifically with our particular niche industry.

One month, however, he decided to expand his scope and write a column that would be useful to business people regardless of industry. He shared an experience from his own life that I guess he figured was a useful metaphor for the larger world. Not surprisingly, the hero of this story was himself.

He was in an airport with only a short amount of time before his flight was scheduled to take off. Not having eaten all day, he decided to grab a quick bite at the McDonalds located within the airport. The line was long and moving very slowly, due to only one register being open. This fellow went up to the front counter and asked if it would be possible for them to open up another registerer to help speed up the line. His request was granted and everyone got their food and made their flights.

My hats off to the guy; I’m sure had I been waiting in this line and was forced to decide whether or not to go hungry or miss my flight, I would have been very appreciative that someone was willing to step up so I could both make my destination on time and enjoy a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese. But it does kind of seem wee too minor an event to base an entire column around. Is having the guts to complain about a slow McDonald’s line really a useful metaphor for how I can better run my technology integration corporation? To paraphrase Freud, sometimes asking a McDonald’s manager if they can open another register to speed up the line is just asking a McDonald’s manager if they can open another register to speed up the line.

I mean, just last week I found a pair of car keys in the bathroom of a Togo’s and returned them to the counter. But you don’t see me writing a whole blog entry on the deeper significance of this act to the world at large now do you?
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